I left my heart rate with Con Francisco.

Francisco kicked my ass and it only took him 40 minutes to do so. Last night, I went to NYSC for my first (and maybe last, just kidding!) personal training session. His name is Francisco; he is tall, dark, and training to be a fireperson. He’s also one semester away from graduating with a major in psychology.

First, he asked me a number of questions about myself.

What is it you wish to achieve?

How old are you?

How many days a week do you currently work out?

How much water do you drink? Do you drink alcohol? If so, how much and how often?

What is your diet like? Do you eat enough protein?

Are you on any medications? Do you have any injuries?

And I answered every one of them with more honesty than I use with a doctor.

After he was finished with the questions, he took my blood pressure and my heart rate. Everything seemed pretty O.K. He said it was slow and low. (I think that’s O.K., right? I have been told before, “You have a morning heart rate.” Which I guess translates to, “You have a heart rate of someone who hasn’t been annoyed and stressed out by the perils of commuting and work, yet.” So, yeah. Slow.)

After the numbers were all in, he calculated my ideal hearth rate for burning fat and achieving my best overall cardiovascular workout. And that number was 151. Lately, I have been overdoing it. When I finish jogging and moving slow enough to use the sensors (When one puts ones hands on the sensors while running faster than 3.5 mph, it screams at you: “NOT RECOMMENDED FOR THOSE USING A PACE ABOVE 4 MPH.) the machine spits back something in the area of 170. Francisco asked, “Does this happen immediately? How long does it take to rise that fast?” It takes a half an hour at least. I was told this, too, was O.K.

Basically, if you’re 31 and working your heart at 151, you’re burning fat. If you’re working your heart at 170, you’re working your heart. Or something.

Right now, you’re trying to lose weight so 151 is perfectly fine. When you’re 40, you’ll need to start working your heart more, so you’ll want to work your heart rate higher. What you’re doing is fine, but feel free to slow it down some in order to lose the weight you wish to lose.

After we got all the numbers and answers out of the way (25. 31. 4. Not enough. Not anymore. 0. I eat well. Yes. No. Not really. 71. 151.) I began my training.

Most of the time, the machine a person least likely wants to use, is the one they should use.

I began to think about all the machines and the fact that for the longest time I avoided running. Now, I love it. Well, I love to hate it. I couldn’t think of a machine I might try and avoid.

You might not find that with me, Francisco. I am somewhat masochistic. I enjoy beating myself to shit.

Oh yeah? That’s great!

And then we walked towards the back room. O.K., so I lied. There is actually ONE machine I avoid. And I had totally forgotten about it when I went on and on about how much I enjoy beating myself up. It’s the moving stair machine. NOT the stair master, the OTHER stair machine. The one I see people on and think, “Oh surely they will die soon. Either they’ll have a heart attack or they’ll slip on all that sweat and fall to their death.”

It’s your lucky day!

One of the machines was in use the other was out of order. Francisco told me about it instead.

Then we moved on to the bikes. I rode one for 10 minutes using a program that made sure my heart rate was up to 151 for most of the workout. Five minutes in, I was sweating. It felt wonderful.

We did lunges next. I have seen people do lunges and I have often thought, “That doesn’t look very hard, but I imagine it must be if folks are doing it all the time.” I am here to tell you, they’re really friggin hard. My thighs were singing punk rock songs.

We worked on abs next. I did curls and sit-ups on the mat while he said encouraging things to me.


I thought the vein on the side of my head was going to explode with each lift. And I contemplated kicking Francisco in the face a few times.


But this man could talk me into anything. (Way to use that degree, Francisco.)

Anyone who has EVER made fun of Pilates is a total ass and can go straight to hell. That said feel free to correct me for any misinformation I am spewing out. Because, there is only so much someone can take in while their doing crunches and contemplating violence.

I have the second half of my training session next week. Then, we’re going to work on upper body strength (which I have little to none of). This whole thing is a ploy so I can guiltlessly consume all the brownies and cupcakes I want.


  1. Francisco! That’s fun to say! Francisco… Frannncisco… Franciscooo…


  2. You just totally made my day, no, my entire year.



  3. Good for you, Mihow. I couldn’t subject myself to the scrutiny… let alone the pain!

    But maybe it’d be worth it – if I was rewarded with a tub of rainbow chip icing. My favourite!


  4. That’s funny, it’s my vegan husband’s favorite, too. He had that, a box of cupcake mix, and a box of brownies displayed (and I mean actually set up in display format) on the table when I got home. What a reward! I’ll visit It’s Fun to Say Francisco every day if I can come home to that.


  5. Aw, that’s awesome!
    But slightly evil, too.


  6. Oh, it’s totally evil. And I think some higher power knew how wrong it was. Because I tried to make the box of brownies last night and ROYALLY fucked them up. You see, before you get all “how do you screw up three ingredients” on me, in my defense, I tried to make them using egg replacer. And while egg replacer works for most things, it threw off EVERYTHING when mixing the brownie mix. We ended up with a watery/oily mess of shit. It ended up in the trash. But the house smelled good! And I will never forgive Toby for being a vegan. How much did I want those brownies last night? Oh, so much. Today, I will make the cupcakes using eggs. hehe


  7. Seriously, Donald, you would have been like “O. mah. god.” And then I would have tackled him, pinned him down, and you would have tickled him. No, seriously, he is a very pretty man.


  8. Francisco sounds hot – is he hot?

    Also, can you elaborate on what is the deal with the heart rate thing. If my heart rate is high (like 180), I’m not doing as good for myself (weight wise) as if I go slower and just burn at a 151 heartrate? That seems assbackwards. So I don’t have to ‘push’ as hard and I’m just wastin’ my time on the damn eliptical machine?

    Lol. Sorry, I think of how many hours have gone by that I’ve spent on that damn machine and didn’t realize I didn’t have to work as hard.


  9. I should really read before I comment. Francsisco is hot. Got it.


  10. According to Francisco, yes, you will burn weight faster if you’re at the lower rate. He told me that working out for 20 minutes at 151 will be better than working out for 45 minutes at 171.

    However, he also mentioned that you do still burn fat at the higher rate. So I am a bit confused. Maybe Toby or someone will know. Maybe it has something to do with age? I think the higher your heart rate, the better it is for your heart. That said, maybe we need to start paying attention to it being that high when we’re older but for now, it’s not necessary for the goal of losing weight.


  11. Is it becuase you gain muscle, making it so that techincally you don’t loose more?
    I can see, how maybe you would loose the same working harder, but not less.

    I was watching Celebrity fit club the other day (I know. I know)…
    and they were bitching out someone for working out to hard and gaining to much muscle,
    and therefore not loosing the required amount.But muscle is good, right?

    I’m going to go eat a pie now.


  12. The interesting thing was when I was riding the bike and started to sweat, the entire time my workout stayed on 151. Like, dead-on. And he said, “Wow, it actually stayed there. That means you’re healthier than I am.” While I realize he was trying to make me feel better, and I replied with “Yeah, right.” He went on to explain that if you’re heart rate is racing when you’re at the speed which the machine deems as proper (in relation to your desired rate) then, in relation to a cardiovascular work out, you’re not in as good as shape as you should be.

    I still think he was being nice, but it does make a little sense. While Francisco was super fit and had zero body fat, his heart rate tends to be higher while working on cardio.


  13. The source of the burned calories is different depending on which metabolic mode your body is in. Endurance type exercise (that done at a moderate high heartrate) doesn’t require the quick energy from sugars and carbs in your belly and blood, so instead fat reserves are used. When you start to get into the heavy cardio, you can’t metabolize that stored fat fast enough so your body switches and uses all the stuff in your tummy and blood for the energy it needs.


  14. see, now i have to get trainer. or i will be paranoid i am doing it wrong. sigh


Leave a ReplyCancel reply